picThe Langdales from Moss Eccles Tarn

A Walk in the Hills

       (Map ref: SD402967) This is the first day of a short stay in Bowness on Windermere and the three of us are making our way down the lake to the car ferry which will take us to Sawrey, the first stage of our planned walk to Ambleside via Claife Heights, Wray and Clappersgate. Our boots specially cleaned and waxed for the occasion are squeaking in unison as we follow the footpath by the waters edge, we are prepared for any kind of weather but the forecast is good and there isn't a cloud in the sky. "This rucksack's a bit heavy" I complain as the others start to leave me behind "What have you put in it?" "just the bare necessities, come on keep up" came the unsympathetic reply. As we pass the public slipway I linger whilst a family rig and launch their sailing dinghy, "not enough wind for good sailing today" I think as I suddenly realise I am alone, I break into a trot to catch up. As I walk round the bend in the road cars are queuing for the ferry which is still on the other side of the lake, Ann and Catherine are already at the landing stage buying ice cream from Joseph's van (SD396958). While waiting for the ferry a minibus arrives and unloads a party of excited Japanese ladies, I realise we are going to take part in what could only be described as the daily pilgrimage to the home of Squirrel Nutkin, Hilltop at Near Sawrey. The ferry arrives to take us across to the dark side.
       The pedestrians stand aside as the vehicles leave the ferry then with a clear road ahead we stride out safe in the knowledge that there will be no traffic from behind until the next ferry arrives. Within fifteen minutes the crowd is strung out along the road and making good progress, because we are carrying maps the Japanese seem to assume we know the way and allow us to lead. By the time we are half way up the steep incline to Hawkrigg farm (SD382951) I have got my second wind and feeling full of the joys of spring, break out into a medley of songs from the trenches of the first world war. The ladies disown me and drop back into the ranks of the Japanese. Near the Cunsey road junction there is a path through the woods to Far Sawrey, we choose to stay on the road. We can't shake off the Japanese who are following dutifully, occasionally pausing to consult the guide book. We pass the Sawrey Hotel and begin to look for the bridle path on the right which will take us over Claife Heights to Wray, there is some confusion but we eventually find it and leave the road to begin the steady climb to Moss Eccles Tarn. (SD378956 - marked PO on the map, don't turn off too soon). "I knew this would happen" said Ann looking back "the Japanese are following us like the children of Hamlin and the pied piper". In panic we stop to allow them to catch up. "You go to Hiw Top?" said a young lady as the first group approached, we direct them back to the road and point towards the next village. I sighed with relief as they understood and began to retrace their steps giggling and chattering like girls from St Trinians.
       The footpath begins to get a bit rough in places, but its wide and safe except for the odd speeding mountain biker. We reach Moss Eccles Tarn and sit down to rest and admire the scenery (SD373968), I decide to put a film in the camera to capture the moment. Rummaging in the rucksack I find my fags and light one while the two little darlings are otherwise engaged making wonderful smells with bread, tea bags and cheese. The camera a Voigtlander bought in 1959 and my constant companion ever since, has a label inside "Foley and Scott, £21 12s 3d". Its in remarkable condition really considering I had to recover it from the river Tummel on my honeymoon when I fell in (I'm sure I fell in? mm! I could have been pushed). I look across at Ann who's passing out the Pringles...... No she wouldn't, anyway I did get out alive. Someone passes me some sandwiches and I realise I'm dreaming again, I put the film in and close the case and record some of the scenes before tucking in. We are reluctant to leave but we must press on if we are to make Ambleside in time to catch the steamer back to Bowness. Catherine takes the rucksack and sets off at a pace, leaving Ann and myself to struggle with the aches and pains and stiffness brought on by old age and intemperance. We follow the signs to Hawkshead and are soon passing Wise Een Tarn, eventually the Hawkshead signs start to point west, we continue following the signs to Wray. By mid afternoon we are back on the road at High Wray (SD373999) from now on its single file as the footpath alternates from tarmac to footpath and back again on both sides of the road. We stop at Clappersgate (NY367034) for a rest by now we are getting tired and gasping for another cup of tea, locals are fishing for trout in the river but the landing nets are still empty. Here it becomes apparent that Catherine has blisters and other imaginary foot problems, she talks at length about boots, socks and things, I switch off and brace myself for an imminent assault on the cheque book. We arrive in Ambleside (NY376046) out of food and hungry and consequently a bit tetchy, Ann causes a scene in Sheila's Pantry when we call for a cup of tea and scones. She storms out giving the proprietor a right dressing down, Catherine and I follow sheepishly reluctant to look up until we are well out into the street. We use the "Apple Pie Eating House" instead and refreshed set off for the pier at Waterhead (NY377031) hoping not to have missed the last steamer.
       Back at the hotel after dinner we take some drinks on to the terrace overlooking the lake. It's peaceful now the visitors have gone home, bats are flying erratically across the night sky in search of food, if there are magic moments this is it.

Ref: Ordnance Survey Outdoor Leisure 7 map, 1:25000. The English Lakes South Eastern Area.

Palfreyman 2003

       There is an interesting footnote to the story 'A Walk in the Hills', in that the Belsfield Hotel, Bowness on Windermere where the walk starts and finishes is the former home of the wealthy industrialist Henry William Schneider who was responsible with John Hannay and James Ramsden amongst others for the development of the iron and steel industry and the Furness Railway Company in Barrow. Schneider was descended from a wealthy Swiss family, his father was a merchant and financial agent in London, he arrived in Barrow in 1839 with the intention of investing heavily in the manufacture of iron and steel there. He owned the twin screw steam yacht Esperance which was built for him by T B Seath in Rutherglen and transported by rail to Lakeside for launching in 1869. He used the yacht for pleasure cruises on the lake for family and friends and for his daily commute from his home in Bowness to Lakeside for onward travel to Barrow by train and presumably again on the return journey in the evening. Esperance was later owned by the Ferry Hotel at Sawrey (now the fresh water biological research facility) for the transport of visitors to and from the hotel and for leisure purposes including afternoon cruises and ferrying worshippers to Wray church on Sunday mornings. It is said to be the inspiration for Arthur Ransome's series of children's novels Swallows and Amazons and can today be seen, on display and fully restored at the Windermere Steamboat Museum.

picFrench Cottoge Garden

Some Links to other reading - follow the link behind the picture

Howe Banks, Little Langdale pic

The Bride of Lammermoor

The Langdales pic

Dover Harbour

Moss Eccles Tarn pic


picFarthingale Publications: ..... Is a hobby web site containing articles of local interest to Lancastrians, some favourite walking and cycling routes, selected words and poetry, and some writings of more general nature as well as the authors own picture gallery. Access is available via the homepage and menu at the head of the page or via one of the direct links below.

picLocal Interest: Richmond Hill Dairies; Mind Your Language; John Lancaster Wigan MP; Thomas Aspinwall Miners Agent; Thomas Aspinwall Obituary; Upholland Telephone Exchange; Thomas Linacre School Wigan; God's Choir; Scot Lane School Wigan; The Lindsays of Haigh; Dust Upon God’s Fair Earth; The Nurburgring 1960; Wigan Advertisements 1960; Wigan Soldier Missing in Action; It’s montar loja virtual a Funny Life; Private Thomas Whitham VC; Isaac Watts 1674 - 1748; Wigan Old Bank 1792; The Brocklebank Line; John Byrom 1692 - 1793; The Holy City Liverpool; Jubilee Park Memorial, Ashton in Makerfield; Little Ships at War 1918; A Cricket Calypso; Not Much of a Warrior; Peveril of the Peak.
Walking & Cycling: Moss Eccles Tarn; Abbey Lakes to Coppull Moor; Chorley Ice Cream Walk; Douglas Valley Dawdle; Three Counties Cycle Ride; Haigh to Borsdane Wood; A Lancshire Linear Walk; Blackrod or Bust; Cycle the Sankey Valley; Cycle the Monsal Trail; Wigan Circular by Bike; Freshfield to Crosby; Irwell Valley Trail (Bury to Rawtenstall); Irwell Valley (Bury to Salford).
Words & Poetry: Wisdom; Only a Cranky Owd Foo'; Martin Chuzzlewit; Dover Harbour; Rogue Herries; The Heart of Midlothian; King Cotton; The Family Man; The Pickwick Papers; The Fair Rosamond; The Fair Rosamond Comic; A Legend of Montrose; When Winds Breathe Soft; The Wreck of the Hesperus; God Bless these Poor Wimmen that's Childer; Dombey and Son; Aw've Turned me bit O' Garden O'er; On montar loja virtual Th' Hills; Four Favourite Poems; The Darkling Thrush; The Glory of the Garden; The Rolling English Road; The Antiquary; Hymn Before Action; Dust upon God's Fair Earth; Mind Your Language; Jeff Unsworth’s dialect poetry; Martyrs of the Arena; Th' Coartin' Neet; Boat Song; Toddlin' Whoam; A Lancashire Mon; Calm is the Sea; The Bride of Lammermoor; Redgauntlet; A Tale of Two Cities.
Wallgate Chronicles: Little Dorrit; Hugo Boss comes to Wigan; In the footsteps of the Manchester Rambler; Fun with Trigonometry; Surprise at the Philharmonic; The Marriage of Figaro; Cat Bells; A Walk in the Hills; Eay Times Uv Changed; Fidelio; The Ravioli Room; Desert Island Discs; Travels in Time 1960; montar loja virtual Travels in Time 2010; The Spectroscope; The Bohemian Girl; Bookcase; Barnaby Rudge; Romance on a Budget; The Battle of Solferino; The Getaway Car; The Switchroom Wigan; The Force of Destiny; Adolphe Adam; The Fair Maid of Perth; Ivanhoe; Semele; Lohengrin; The Old Curiosity Shop; Hard Times.